I Want To Be A Star in Your Show!

Meeting Thursday 20th February 2020

We had a packed room at Bromley Speakers on Thursday with plenty of members and guests.

We were delighted to welcome Area Director Michael Crane to the meeting. It’s always a pleasure to see Michael and we appreciate his visits to the club. Michael noted that we had all committee members present at the meeting which is not unusual for our club as our committee members are extremely supportive to the club, its members and each other.

President Christine Morrell also warmly welcomed two other distinguished guests, Phillip and Evelyn Khan-Panni. Phillip was a founder member of Bromley Speakers back in 1992 and was a runner-up in the International Speech Contest, which is quite an achievement for anyone to get that far in the competition.

We had four other guests, two of whom were first-time visitors to a Toastmasters club and all of them gave good feedback after the meeting.

Our Toastmaster for the evening was Karen Mefflin. Although Karen has been a member of the club for six years, it’s been quite a while since she has taken on the role of Toastmaster. Members can sometimes become very comfortable with certain roles and it can take a bit of courage to step up to another challenge, so well done to Karen for stepping into the Toastmasters shoes for the evening.

If you won the Euro Millions what would be the first thing you would buy?

The warm-up for the evening was guided by Harry Langley. Some of the answers were as predictable as a red sports car, a bigger house and a round-the-world holiday and others were more boozy like a pub and even several pubs! My personal favourites were from Caroline who said that she would give her friends envelopes with something that they all wanted in, and Richard who said that what he would want, money couldn’t buy.

Prepared Speeches

Our first prepared speech was delivered by Jamie Simpson. Freshly off the plane from Sri Lanka, Jamie regaled us of tales from his exciting and adventurous holiday, making us all green with envy of his exotic trip.

Jamie’s ‘second honeymoon’ speech was an Evaluation and Feedback speech from the Visionary Communication pathway. Jamie’s remit was to incorporate feedback from his last speech, which he did extremely well by not using any notes at all.

He made us laugh when he said that his missus ‘borrowed’ some food from the breakfast buffet, put some bananas in his rucksack pocket without his knowing and he had the monkeys chasing after him and he had no idea why!

He took us on his train journey through the tea plantations and he said that it was like Tuscany without the tourists. He visited the botanical gardens full of palm trees and saw flying foxes amongst other animals. He even saw his first leopard!

Jamie also told us about his visit to the turtle sanctuary, which seemed unnatural but then he struck it lucky when he was walking on the beach and a turtle came out of the sea and laid its eggs right in front of him! How amazing.

I love hearing stories of people’s travels at Toastmasters. It was an impressive speech which made me want to pack my bags and fly to Sri Lanka!

Speech number two was delivered by Sue Shaw. Her speech entitled ‘At the Heart’ was from the Storytelling pathway and her remit was to arouse emotions whilst telling a touching story.

Susan certainly did that when she told us about a man named John whom she had met through the hospice at which she was volunteering. When Sue started giving speeches to the hospice, she told us that the experience wasn’t connecting with her emotions and her heart. And then she had an epiphany moment when she heard stories like John’s.

“How patients are cared for remains in the minds of those who are left”

John was an ordinary man who loved to walk. He even walked an impressive 163 miles to Hastings. And then he got his diagnosis and became more reclusive. When he went into the hospice they did a wonderful thing for him. He was never going to be able to get to the seaside again and so the hospice brought the seaside to him. They arranged for the sights, the smells and even the taste to be there in his room on a very special day.

Our third prepared speech entitled ‘Who Do you Think You Are?’ was delivered by Phillip Khan-Panni who told us not about the Spice Girls but a story about mistaken identities. His brother happily accepted congratulations for an achievement that was Phillip’s and the judges of the ‘most stylish young skater’ award mistook another lad for himself and presented the award to the other boy! Phillip told the lad that he thought it was a mistake and that they had given the award to him in error and the lad retorted, ‘who do you think you are?’.

Phillip left us with a message.

Why be an extra in someone else’s dream when you can star in your own?


Feedback was given on all three speeches by our evaluators Vinu Madhavan, Susan Rayner and Richard Green.

Vinu said that Jamie had delivered an enjoyable speech and had brought it to life.

Susan commented that as Sue Shaw painted us her picture, we all smiled. Sue Shaw is a great storyteller and she used her expertise to draw us all in.

In Richard’s evaluation of Phillip, he pointed out that Phillip used all advanced techniques and also used his body well as he spoke to us. Again, Phillip is a very experienced speaker. In fact, he is a business speaker and presentation consultant and you can see his showreel here.

Richard finished off his evaluation with a strong message to Phillip…

I want to be a star in your show!

Some of the helpful recommendations given in the feedback this evening, which we can all learn from, were as follows:

  • Pause for the audience to absorb the messages
  • Gather everyone’s attention before you speak
  • Have a strong final message
  • Keep the body of the story to three main points

Table Topics

The Table Topics session was brought to us by Caroline Jeffrey who asked some interesting and thought-provoking questions. Caroline is a new member to the club and the role of Table Topics Master is quite a challenging one so it was ambitious of Caroline to take it on.

As well as being a valuable tool for learning to speak off the cuff, Table Topics questions are a good opportunity for members of the club, who haven’t had an opportunity to speak in the meeting, to stand up and talk. It’s always impressive when guests do a table topic but paid-up members are given the chance to speak first, if they haven’t already done so.

Some of the questions that Caroline gave the audience were, ‘what is your favourite way to relax?’, ‘what was the first job you ever had?’, who or what could you not live without?’, what is your opinion of tattoos and would you have one?’ and my personal favourite, ‘would you eat food past its sell-by date?’.

Two of our guests, Adam and Laurence courageously stepped up to the challenge and delivered very good first-time table topics.

Other Business

Our esteemed ‘best-dressed’ guest Evelyn Khan-Panni reviewed the meeting and gave us feedback on all of the roles that hadn’t been evaluated yet.

Area Director Michael Crane presented our President Christine Morrell with a Toastmasters Core Values Award which helps us remember that Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence are a set of timeless, guiding principles for everyone in the organisation.

Michael Crane with the evening’s award winners – Vinu, Adrian and Sue

Slide Presentation Workshop

Christine wrapped up the meeting and reminded us that there will be a workshop on 30th April (usual place and time of meeting) run by David Henson, The Slide Presentation Man.

David is an experienced speaker and an expert creator of professional slide presentations. We are fortunate and grateful that he will be giving us his time and sharing his expertise on how to produce engaging, effective and empowering slide presentations

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